Unit: Atmospheric Sciences
Program: Atmospheric Sciences (BS)
Degree: Bachelor's
Date: Wed Sep 30, 2015 - 2:34:06 pm

1) Institutional Learning Objectives (ILOs) and Program Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

1. Know the horizontal and vertical variation of temperature, moisture and wind in the atmosphere.

(1b. Specialized study in an academic field, 3c. Stewardship of the natural environment)

2. Recognize the various scales of motion from turbulence to planetary scales.

(1b. Specialized study in an academic field, 2b. Conduct research)

3. Evaluate the accuracy and precision of standard meteorological instrumentation.

(1b. Specialized study in an academic field, 2a. Think critically and creatively, 2b. Conduct research, 3c. Stewardship of the natural environment)

4. Apply basic atmospheric thermodynamic principles such as potential temperature, equivalent potential temperature, vapor pressure, mixing ratio and the first and second laws of thermodynamics to understand weather and climate issues.

(1b. Specialized study in an academic field, 3c. Stewardship of the natural environment)

5. Apply basic atmospheric dynamic principles including equations with partial derivatives such as the equation of motion, various approximations of that equation, conservation of a quantity and key kinematic concepts such as divergence and vorticity to understand weather and climate problems.

(1b. Specialized study in an academic field, 2b. Conduct research, 3c. Stewardship of the natural environment)

6. Predict the weather by diagnosing observations and interpreting guidance products.

(1b. Specialized study in an academic field, 2a. Think critically and creatively, 3c. Stewardship of the natural environment)

7. Design and execute basic computer programs to determine desired variables from raw data.

(1b. Specialized study in an academic field, 2a. Think critically and creatively, 2b. Conduct research, 3a. Continuous learning and personal growth, 3c. Stewardship of the natural environment)

8. Communicate study results and forecasts in both written and oral forms.

(1a. General education, 1b. Specialized study in an academic field, 2b. Conduct research, 2c. Communicate and report, 3a. Continuous learning and personal growth, 3c. Stewardship of the natural environment)

9. Understand how the Hawaiians viewed weather phenomena and how weather and climate shaped their culture.

(1c. Understand Hawaiian culture and history)

2) Your program's SLOs are published as follows. Please update as needed.

Department Website URL: http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/MET/
Student Handbook. URL, if available online:
Information Sheet, Flyer, or Brochure URL, if available online:
UHM Catalog. Page Number:
Course Syllabi. URL, if available online: www.soest.hawaii.edu/met/met_syllabi.shtml
Other: All syllabi are handed out in the first meeting of that particular class.

3) Please review, add, replace, or delete the existing curriculum map.

Curriculum Map File(s) from 2015:

4) For your program, the percentage of courses that have course SLOs explicitly stated on the syllabus, a website, or other publicly available document is as follows. Please update as needed.


5) Did your program engage in any program learning assessment activities between June 1, 2014 and September 30, 2015?

No (skip to question 16)

6) What best describes the program-level learning assessment activities that took place for the period June 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015? (Check all that apply.)

Create/modify/discuss program learning assessment procedures (e.g., SLOs, curriculum map, mechanism to collect student work, rubric, survey)
Collect/evaluate student work/performance to determine SLO achievement
Collect/analyze student self-reports of SLO achievement via surveys, interviews, or focus groups
Use assessment results to make programmatic decisions (e.g., change course content or pedagogy, design new course, hiring)
Investigate curriculum coherence. This includes investigating how well courses address the SLOs, course sequencing and adequacy, the effect of pre-requisites on learning achievement.
Investigate other pressing issue related to student learning achievement for the program (explain in question 7)

7) Briefly explain the assessment activities that took place in the last 18 months.

Conducted interviews with students, especially graduating seniors about what is right and wrong about the curriculum. Discussed student performance with various faculty members. Reviewed the exit interview comments made by the graduating seniors; these are collected by an independent office to obtain as frank opinions as possible. 

8) What types of evidence did the program use as part of the assessment activities checked in question 6? (Check all that apply.)

Direct evidence of student learning (student work products)

Artistic exhibition/performance
Assignment/exam/paper completed as part of regular coursework and used for program-level assessment
Capstone work product (e.g., written project or non-thesis paper)
Exam created by an external organization (e.g., professional association for licensure)
Exit exam created by the program
IRB approval of research
Oral performance (oral defense, oral presentation, conference presentation)
Portfolio of student work
Publication or grant proposal
Qualifying exam or comprehensive exam for program-level assessment in addition to individual student evaluation (graduate level only)
Supervisor or employer evaluation of student performance outside the classroom (internship, clinical, practicum)
Thesis or dissertation used for program-level assessment in addition to individual student evaluation
Other 1:
Other 2:

Indirect evidence of student learning

Alumni survey that contains self-reports of SLO achievement
Employer meetings/discussions/survey/interview of student SLO achievement
Interviews or focus groups that contain self-reports of SLO achievement
Student reflective writing assignment (essay, journal entry, self-assessment) on their SLO achievement.
Student surveys that contain self-reports of SLO achievement
Other 1:
Other 2:

Program evidence related to learning and assessment
(more applicable when the program focused on the use of results or assessment procedure/tools in this reporting period instead of data collection)

Assessment-related such as assessment plan, SLOs, curriculum map, etc.
Program or course materials (syllabi, assignments, requirements, etc.)
Other 1:
Other 2:

9) State the number of students (or persons) who submitted evidence that was evaluated. If applicable, please include the sampling technique used.

About 7 seniors supplied information in the form of interviews and sometimes informal discussions with the chair, mostly, but other faculty members as well. A questionnaire was deemed inappropriate given the size of the program. 

10) Who interpreted or analyzed the evidence that was collected? (Check all that apply.)

Course instructor(s)
Faculty committee
Ad hoc faculty group
Department chairperson
Persons or organization outside the university
Faculty advisor
Advisors (in student support services)
Students (graduate or undergraduate)

11) How did they evaluate, analyze, or interpret the evidence? (Check all that apply.)

Used a rubric or scoring guide
Scored exams/tests/quizzes
Used professional judgment (no rubric or scoring guide used)
Compiled survey results
Used qualitative methods on interview, focus group, open-ended response data
External organization/person analyzed data (e.g., external organization administered and scored the nursing licensing exam)

12) Summarize the results of the assessment activities checked in question 6. For example, report the percent of students who achieved each SLO.

Students receiving a "B" or better are considered to be achieving the SLO's for a given class. Students receiving a "C", while essentially satisfactory, are viewed by the faculty as not achieving one or more of the SLO's for a given class. As expected the majority of seniors achieved a "B" or better in the atmopsheric science classes (~75%) but students in the early stages of the program show poorer results with (~60%) achieving a "B" or better. Many of the students continue to struggle with required classes outside of the department (e.g., math and physics). Here the issue seems to be poor math backgrounds for most Hawaii residents coupled with large classes that are often poorly taught by the math department. If we apply a "B" or better as evidence of achieving the SLO's for these classes beyond out department then only ~50% are reaching our desired standards.

13) What best describes how the program used the results? (Check all that apply.)

Assessment procedure changes (SLOs, curriculum map, rubrics, evidence collected, sampling, communications with faculty, etc.)
Course changes (course content, pedagogy, courses offered, new course, pre-requisites, requirements)
Personnel or resource allocation changes
Program policy changes (e.g., admissions requirements, student probation policies, common course evaluation form)
Students' out-of-course experience changes (advising, co-curricular experiences, program website, program handbook, brown-bag lunches, workshops)
Celebration of student success!
Results indicated no action needed because students met expectations
Use is pending (typical reasons: insufficient number of students in population, evidence not evaluated or interpreted yet, faculty discussions continue)

14) Please briefly describe how the program used the results.

There have been several changes over the last year or so:

1- mandatory advising with an Atmospheric Sciences faculty member with more discussion about class performance and why or why not the student is doing well,

2- courses redesigned to better accomodate student backgrounds,

3-  placing the better teachers in the sophmore and junior classes,

4- engaging the students on a more personal level through the use of a undergraduate lounge and weather discussions,

5- providing computers and study spaces within the department for the undergraduates.

15) Beyond the results, were there additional conclusions or discoveries? This can include insights about assessment procedures, teaching and learning, and great achievements regarding program assessment in this reporting period.

There is mounting evidence that students that grew up in Hawaii are falling behind their counterparts from the mainland. The percentage of students that have had a real high school physics class is appallingly low, perhaps under 50%. Students report that their chemistry classes are also sub-standard. Their math backgrounds also remain sub-standard. The result is that our students struggle to meet the demands of the atmopsheric sciences major. To help correct this we now often advise students with weaker backgrounds or who struggle with their initial math and science classes at Manoa to take their math and physics classes at a community college within the system. Here they receive more personal treatment in smaller classes. Success rates (C or better) are higher for those students. 

16) If the program did not engage in assessment activities, please explain.

not applicable